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Butlins with Steve & Jen

We all met just outside Nottingham for lunch, where we got to know each other over a very tasty meal. From here we all travelled to the Butlins resort on the coastal town of Skegness, where we settled into our spacious accommodation.

We ate well all week, with a bountiful breakfast getting us started each morning. We enjoyed eating out at pubs and one night we all celebrated Josie’s birthday with a cake, balloons and party hats!

Our evenings were spent making the most of the entertainment. At the Club House we saw the Glee Force show, a Michael Jackson tribute, The Octaves Show, and the Story of Soul show! We even went to Central Stage to watch the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk - oh yes we did!

We explored all Butlins had to offer, having a go on the camp amusements and fun fair games as well as twice visiting the swimming pool. The ladies were pampered as they had their hair and nails done too. We also went ten-pin bowling.

We don’t just stay on camp though – we discovered all the area had to offer, taking a drive in the lovely countryside of Lincolnshire Wolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where we stopped for a picnic. We even found time whilst visiting a pretty village called Tealby for a lovely cream tea !!

Cycling in Holland with Derek & Wendy

We took the ferry across the channel and made our way through the picturesque countryside of France and Belgium to our Center Parcs location near Eindhoven in Holland. We settled into our comfortable lodge accommodation before heading for dinner at an Italian restaurant.

We hired bicycles for the week so we could explore the area. With the exception of one day, this holiday was all about cycling, enjoying the designated cycle paths through the beautiful and thankfully flat countryside!

Other days were spent riding out on longer rides and enjoying the fantastic weather. We had picnic lunches in forestry areas, visited bars for refreshment and ice cream parlours for the taste of farm made ices. On our journey’s we discovered working windmills and enjoyed the thrill of watching the sails turning in the breeze whilst watching the grain being ground to flour.

With great weather all week we enjoyed BBQ dinners outside in the sun, as well as dining out at local restaurants. We leisurely rode to local towns, stopping for a drink and snack to refresh ourselves. At the Center Parcs resort we played pool, adventure golf and ten-pin bowling, and enjoyed the entertainment on offer in the evenings.

We took one day off of cycling as we visited “Floriade” at Venlo, an event that is held only once in every 10 something special! It is an amazing variety of flowers mixed with graphic art, dance, music and theatre.

Over the week we probably covered approximately 55-60 miles, so well done to everybody!

Painting & Drawing in France with Colin & Pat

After catching our ferry from Dover over to Calais we headed off to start another week of enjoying the French countryside and of course our art lessons under the instructive eye of our professional artist !! 

The lovely old farmhouse that we stay in (most of which was built in the 17th century) is a great base for our art lessons, peaceful rest in the gardens, BBQ’s and trips out to the nearby attractions.

During the week everyone loved the 2 half day painting courses that we had planned and yet again the quality of the paintings produced was of a very high standard. Everyone managed to paint their own style on canvas of a vase of flowers. As you can see below, same subject, but with an individual stamp on each one! Well done to all. I’m sure that they will be hung on an appropriate wall for the appreciation of all.

As usual we ventured out every day to a different part of the coast and with the weather treating us so kindly we were even able to have a picnic on the beach !!

We visited the nearby chocolate factory where everyone was interested in the way the chocolates were made, but more importantly really enjoyed tasting the samples. We took the Steam Train ride around the Somme from Le Crotoy to St Valery which is steeped in history and had a day out at the Nausicaa Aquarium in Boulogne, reputed to be the largest aquarium in Europe.

We also strolled along the beaches at “Berck”, “Le Touquet” and “Hardelot” and also somehow managed to fit in visiting 2 markets.

On our way home we again visited the “Langham’s Brasserie” on board the ferry for a relaxing lunch before we set off home. Everyone had had a great experience and none of us were looking forward to the weather back in England.